I cover sports, general news and features.
My father was a photojournalist working at the Topeka Capital newspaper in Kansas when I was born. Some of my earliest memories are from hanging out in his darkroom with the red safety lights on, while he was developing prints. I remember the smells of the developer and fixer, and especially how magical it seemed when the image appeared when the paper went into the developer tray. I was fortunate enough to tag along with him on assignments and be his assistant early on. I learned from an early age that in photojournalism that magical moment never repeats itself and capturing it requires planning, concentration and dedication.
My first assignment with Reuters as a stringer came when a friend called me in to meet the Madrid photo chief Hugh Peralta. We had a short chat about my professional photography background which in those days did not amount to much. He decided to give me a chance and sent me to cover a news conference for the visiting Argentine foreign minister in Madrid. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time. I remember I shot three rolls of black and white film at the press conference, as I wasn’t sure exactly what type of picture Hugo was after.
Afterwards Hugo told me, “Don’t you EVER shoot three rolls of film at a press conference EVER again!” Back in those days when you had to develop film, you shot much more conservatively than in the digital age. A couple of months later I had quit my other part-time jobs and was shooting assignments in Spain and Portugal and enjoying the steep learning curve.
The assignment that left the biggest mark on me was being embedded on the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier in the Gulf for around six weeks during the 2003 Iraq war. The length of the assignment, the closeness of the war and being confined to a ship for over a month made a lasting impression on me.
Photojournalism serves as a visual testimony and a history of mankind. Visual storytelling can help people understand complex issues in a way that words sometimes struggle to equal. Photojournalism has the power to convey emotion and drama of events immediately and directly with terrific efficiency.